Date: 7/16/17 10:27 pm From: Steve Hampton <stevechampton...> [central_valley_birds] <central_valley_birds-noreply...> Subject: Re: [CVBirds] destruction of Western Screech Owl nesting habitat
Regarding working with cities to prevent such behavior, there are examples from Davis re: Burrowing Owls and other species. Davis has a biologist on staff, which makes notification and coordination much easier. The key, of course, is communication from birders to the city biologist, and then from the biologist to other city departments (e.g. parks, etc.). That last part, in my experience, is challenging. I've had many experiences where tree trimmers are "just following instructions" from some supervisor who will say, "sorry, we didn't know". Just last week they were excessively trimming the riparian willows behind my house and shooting all the chippings into the creek! I was lucky I was home. I spoke with the guy, who said he was just following instructions, and told him it's a bad idea (and a clear F&G Code 5650 violation). He called his supervisor and they changed immediately. But I have no faith it won't happen again with another crew.
It's highly unlikely the feds (USFWS) will take action in your case. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is very rarely enforced-- and then only in the most egregious cases involving deliberate destruction of many nests. I'm not sure about the state Fish & Game Code mentioned by Frank. Code 2014 is another one that is sometimes used at the state level in egregious cases, but if the city claims ignorance, I'm sure they'll just drop it and encourage better communication next time.